Kaibab National Forest

Kaibab National Forest

Kanab Creek Wilderness Area

The Kanab Creek Wilderness lies in the southwestern corner of the North Kaibab Ranger District and abuts the western edge of the Kaibab Plateau. Kanab Creek is one of the major tributaries of the Colorado River.

Flowing from its origin some 50 miles to the north in southern Utah, Kanab Creek and its tributaries have cut a network of vertical-walled gorges deep into the Kanab and Kaibab Plateaus. Within these walls lies a maze of water and wind carved fins, knobs, potholes, and other intricately sculptured forms.

Elevations range from near 2,000 feet at the river to 6,000 feet at the rim's edge. The upper reaches serve as a winter range for the Kaibab mule deer. Vegetation is varied and sparse except for heavy riparian growth in the creek bottom. There are few dependable water sources here for man or beast during the summer months when temperatures approach 120 degrees. A number of trails lead into this rather hostile environment but many are poorly marked and infrequently maintained. Limited and arduous access to the Kanab Creek area adds a measure of remoteness that says this is truly wilderness.

The nearest trailhead (Trail #57) is located 27.5 miles south of Fredonia. The Wilderness extends along the western part of the North Kaibab Ranger District.

68,340 acres

3,500 to 6,200 feet

September through early May (depending on snowfall)

Use Restrictions:
No motor vehicles or mechanized equipment may be operated in Kanab Creek Wilderness

Trail #8 - Jumpup-Nail
Trail #41 - Ranger
Trail #59 - Snake Gulch-Kanab Creek

A few year-round springs exist in the Wilderness; rated good to fair in quality. All water should be treated before human consumption.

There are no established camp sites. Because of the steep terrain, best camping locations are near (but not in) drainage bottoms. Flashfloods can be a hazard in these dry washes. Upstream thunderstorms can cause floods several miles downstream where no rain has fallen. Avoid ridgetops during lightning storms.

Cultural Resources:
Evidence indicates that this area was inhabited by prehistoric peoples from before the time of Christ to about AD 1100. The Kanab Creek Wilderness contains some of the most interesting and significant rock art in the Southwest.

Expect it to be hot and dry in the summer, and cool and moist in the winter. The hottest months are June and July; the coldest are December and January. Average annual precipitation ranges from 8" at the lower elevations to 12" at the upper locations. Local thunderstorms are common in the summer months, particularly in July and August.

The higher elevations are used as winter range by mule deer. Almost all of the chukar partridge in Arizona occur in this area. This general area is home to bobcat, fox, coyote, and small mammals such as rabbit, squirrel, and mice. Several species of toads, frogs, lizards, and snakes can also be found in this area. The only known poisonous snake that could be encountered is the rattlesnake. Be aware of their possible presence and give them a wide berth.

This area is dominated by desert shrub blackbush, with occasional clumps of Indian ricegrass or needle-and-thread grass in the lower elevations. Along the drainage bottoms there are some groups of cottonwood, desert almond, red bud, and single-leaf ash trees. Some of these riparian habitats are being invaded by salt cedar. The upper reaches have some areas of pinyon-juniper, but sagebrush dominates most of the area.

North Kaibab Recreation Map, North Kaibab Ranger District


Forest Roads 232, 233, 234, 422, 425, 447, and 642